Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo
In 1499, the famous explorer from Portugal Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo was born. He was known for his travels to the western coast of North America where he had represented the Spanish. In fact many believe that he was in fact born in Spain itself. He also travelled through the Californian coast and was the first explorer to accomplish this. He was also instrumental in discovering Oaxaca.
In his young age itself Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo set sail with the aim of reaching Havana and he came together with Cortes at New Spain. His excellent skills as a business man soon made him extremely rich and he was wealthier than most of his colleagues.
He started his journey to Navidad in June 1542 with an impressive fleet at his disposal. He with his fleet reached the Baja Point within a month where they set sail on waters that were hitherto unexplored by his native folk.
By September he had reached what he named the 'San Miguel'. After this he came across what he called 'San Salvador' and befriended the natives of that land. He and his men travelled to other lands before they returned to San Salvador in November 1542. By the time they were back, Cabrillo's fleet had lost much of its vigor and needed repairing and rest.
However, the great leader and explorer himself died at this time. He had injured his foot seriously and the injury turned into a fatal gangrene that brought upon the end of this explorer. He died on the 3rd of January 1543 and was cremated in San Salvador itself. After his death his men and fleet returned back to Navidad by April 1543.
Most of the accounts of Cabrillo and his men during their expedition are lost and only a small description of Urdaneta about the expedition survived. The first description of the expedition was printed by Herrera. In fact, at that time many failed to give proper recognition to Cabrillo's expeditions and discoveries.
Also, the places that he had discovered were not named after the names that he had given to them. However, in course of time Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo's greatness was realized and he was given the honor that he deserved.
Several buildings and roads in California are named after him. The United States Postal Service came out with a stamp in honor of Cabrillo in the year 1992. September 28th is celebrated as the "Cabrillo Day" in California.